Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Chinese New Year Eve Memories

When we were young we would be so excited about the arrival of the first day of the new year and we were asked to sleep early so that we could get up early the next day to help father let off the fire crackers to announce the lovely first day of the new Lunar Year. That was an exciting time.

Later as we grew older we learned about other Chinese who would stay up all night to play mahjong or gamble or talk. We felt that we were very different from other dialectic groups. And we wondered about the differences. However we just accepted that we Foochows were just different.

One beautiful,treasured and memorable activity we had with aunts and cousins, dear relatives was the getting together on the first few days of the Lunar year to crack melon seeds and tell stories, over cups of warm Chinese tea. Seated around the family marble table we would crack the melon seeds daintily with our good teeth and relate stories old and new to each other. Sometimes it could be very academic, sometimes it could just be something so hilarious that we stopped talking and laughed our hearts out. And there would be teasing too. Seventh Aunt would always bashfully say that she could not understand our English and we would revert back to Foochow for her sake. And then all the banter would start again in English, in Foochow and even Hokkien. All these were just warm feelings which flowed through our veins , across three generations sometimes,and we would look forward to another visit, perhaps the next year, or even the next few months. These were good days of good family togetherness which wealth cannot obtain.

Although my maternal grandmother passed away many years ago, I

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